New Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme now in force

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The new Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme comes into force today (27 November).

Despite criticism from legal commentators and injured victims of crime, the government recently passed their proposed amendments to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme.

Injured victims are able to apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) for compensation if their injuries have been caused by violent crime. Under the current scheme, injuries have to be worth at least £1,000 to qualify for an award. However, once the new scheme which incorporates the government's cuts comes into force, the minimum value increases to £2,500. In addition, all awards of £11,000 or less are being reduced.

By way of example, injuries which attract an award of £6,800 compensation under the current scheme will be worth only around half of this amount under the new scheme.

More alarmingly, It is estimated that 90% of applicants will no longer qualify for any compensation at all the new scheme as their injuries, although genuine, will now be valued below the minimum level of £2,500. This equates to around 30,000 victims per annum.

Tom Hartigan, Associate at Trethowans LLP comments: "It is right that injured victims of crime are allowed to bring valid claims for proper redress. CICA already restrict the amount of compensation they pay to injured victims by way of a rigid tariff system. The new scheme significantly cuts the awards available and will result in people receiving even less compensation than they are currently entitled to and in many cases they will no longer qualify at all, losing their right to justice entirely."